Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

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chiafresca 2397 thumb   Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

 

Excuse me, but I must ask you what you are drinking? I’ve never seen anything like it before!

Those are the kinds of questions a girl gets asked when she’s toting this drink to a spin class. You get stares, sideways looks, and nervous smiles. The people out there are curious and they need to know that you aren’t drinking little black bugs. They need to be able to sleep at night. For goodness sake, tell them what you are drinking so they can get back to their workout!

So I tell them with a big smile, Chia bugs. Then there’s an awkward pause and even more confusion.

Ok, ok, it’s actually a healthy beverage called Chia Fresca which has been a popular drink in Mexico and Central America for many years. I’m sure many of you have heard of it before or even made it yourself. It’s made up of water, chia seeds, lemon or lime juice, and sweetener.

When chia seeds are soaked in water a gelatinous coating forms around the seed very similar to a tomato seed. This makes it very easy to swallow so the seeds don’t get stuck in your throat. Chia Fresca probably isn’t for people with texture issues (cough, cough husband), but I’ll leave that up to your discretion. I recently brought it back into my life to get a boost of Omega-3 fatty acids in my diet. It’s so much more fun than drinking plain water! Plus, it’s a total conversation starter much like bringing a Green Monster into the work place. I know you’ve been there. Well, why not bring Chia Fresca and show them just how crazy you can really be?

chiafresca 2403 thumb   Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

Here’s a quick refresher on chia seeds:

  • Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed
  • Chia seeds do not need to be ground to be absorbed by the body and they can be stored for long periods of time without going rancid
  • They help with hydration due to their ability to absorb up to 9-10 times their weight in water
  • Chia seeds also contain fibre, protein, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc among many other nutrients
  • Chia seeds like to get stuck in your teeth. You were warned.

 

Chia Fresca is said to boost energy levels too. I’m not really sure if it boosts my energy or not, but I sure feel happy and hydrated when I drink it. When I have some on hand, I like to pair it with coconut water for a natural potassium boost after a tough workout, but water is just fine too.

Edited to add: Some of you were asking me about the thickness of this drink so I thought I would add a few words on this. I wouldn’t say it has a smoothie-like texture, but it’s more like a water consistency just with a whole slew of gel-y seeds in it. Does that make any sense? You just have to try it for yourself. My guess is you will either love it or hate it.

chiafresca 2414 thumb   Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

Chia Fresca

Email, text, or print this recipe

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water or coconut water
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
  • Sweetener, to taste (I like 1/2 tbsp maple syrup)

 

1. Add chia and water into a jar or glass and stir very well to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to swell up. I like to use a jar with a lid so I can shake it up really well and break up the clumps of chia.

2. Add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to taste. Stir (or shake) well to combine and enjoy!

For nutritional info, see here.

Note: Chia seeds will sink and collect at the bottom of the glass quickly. Give it a good stir as needed.

chiafresca 2408 thumb   Chia Fresca: A Natural Energy Drink!

Wishing you a very happy (and hydrated) weekend!!

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{ 254 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon March 1, 2013

Ouu, this definitely looks interesting! Can’t wait to garner some stares at the gym later today with this mix :)

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Melissa March 1, 2013

I love this stuff–around here, we call it iskiate, which is the Tarahumara word for it. Runners are nuts for it, after it got so much love in _Born to Run_. And it’s just plain delcious!

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Kim @ Cooking in the City March 1, 2013

I like this idea! It would be great after a long run in the summer. Do you think you could put this together and leave it in the fridge- like overnight- and just reshake or do you think it would get gross?

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Angela March 1, 2013

I think it should be fine! Let me know how it goes. :)

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Patricia March 1, 2013

I did this just yesterday with my juice! I made it in one of those drink-box tupperware containers the night before and drank it with my lunch. Bonus – the juicebox has a straw, so I didn’t waste any of the chia goodness by getting it straight from the bottom.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2013

Love that idea :) Thanks for sharing!

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Lorraine Tutte March 7, 2013

I,ve been using Chia seeds for about a month in my green smoothies and I always make way to much so it does sit in fridge until next day. No problem.

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Chris March 6, 2013

I keep soaked chia seeds in my fridge. I add them to smoothies and oatmeal etc. I love them and I’m trying this water!

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kclea March 1, 2013

LOVE this! I remember this from Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run” and always meant to try it. Thanks for the reminder; soon I’ll be happily toting my chia bug beverage to the gym, too :)

Best!

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Tiffany March 1, 2013

Hi Angela. It’s interesting that you post this because I’ve just started drinking something similar after visiting Lyfe Kitchen in Palo Alto CA last weekend, and am loving it. Another idea to add to the mix…ginger juice (grate some ginger and squeeze out the juice and add).

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Danielle March 1, 2013

Tiffany,
YES! I get that frequently at Lyfe too! It’s one of the ‘cooler’ drinks. Love your ginger idea!
Danielle

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Angela March 1, 2013

That sounds great too. I’ll have to try that out!

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health March 1, 2013

Palo Alto is right by me, I’ll have to check out Lyfe, thanks for sharing!

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Mary March 1, 2013

I just bought some chia seeds and haven’t had a clue what to do with them. I will try this, thanks!

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Karen D. March 3, 2013

Throw a spoonful of chia seeds into oatmeal – they swell up and make your oatmeal fluffy and voluminous. Also add chia seeds to homemade granola or granola bars.

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Lindy March 3, 2013

Make endurance crackers or basic oatbars from this website. Top your salads with chia seeds. Make overnight oats in the fridge and add a tablespoon or two of chia to those. The question, really, is what can’t you do with chia!!?

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Sabrina March 7, 2013

I use chia seeds to make a berry pudding for dessert:

1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp coconut milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup (agave, honey, etc.)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Mix chia seeds and coconut milk and place in fridge over night or at least an hour.

Place all ingredients in blender/food processor and blend. Serve immediately with blueberries and a little coconut milk poured on top.

Lately I’ve been using mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries). It’s a great alternative to sugar filled ice cream that I usually crave late at night.

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Amber January 2, 2014

I can’t wait to try this for dessert tonight- thanks!

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Penny October 15, 2013

I mix Chia seeds with Nutella and put on toast. Fills me up and energizes me!

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Sarah L. March 1, 2013

Not gonna lie…this looks totally weird. But I’d be willing to give it a try! I can use all the extra hydration I can get!

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Elizabeth Pree March 1, 2013

I’m in LOVE! I just started using chai seeds in…everything, and I’m hooked. Running to the store for limes right now!

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Chelsea March 1, 2013

This looks awesome! I love chia seed kombucha, but it’s $4 a bottle. This would be a great alternative. Thanks. :)

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Ginger March 1, 2013

This looks super interesting! Do you happen to know how long chia seeds will keep in a cool, dry cupboard? I have had mine for a year…possibly longer! Eek!

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Meg March 25, 2013

Chia Seeds will last at least 5 Years…

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jerry January 10, 2014

i grind SOME chia and flax seed in my coffee grinder with turmeric powder and cayenne pepper then shake it over my steamed veggies and add liberal amount of olive oil. now i heard that chia seeds eaten without lots of water will leach moisture out of the body and cause dehydration. is this true?

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Sarah @ Yogi in Action March 1, 2013

I’ve never heard of this but now I really want to try it! I think I’ll give it a try this weekend- while at home in case I end up with them all over my teeth.

And I can definitely see why people think there are bugs in your drink…cause I kind of thought it at first.

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh March 1, 2013

Oh girl…you are more brave than I am! I eat chia seeds every day, usually in my oatmeal or sometimes I’ll just straight up do a “chia shot” and down 1 tbsp with a swig of water but I cannot do the whole “pudding” or “gel-drink” thing. It’s a texture thing and when I tried it, I almost gagged! LOL Hats off to you for being able to do that! I know, I’m a wimp!

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Angela March 1, 2013

heh that sounds like my husband…to each their own, right?

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Corinne March 15, 2013

I had similar feelings, I tried some kind of breakfast pudding thing(mixed with almond milk) from another website and I DID gagged when I tried to eat it, the texture was horrifying! However after it sat and got closer to room temperature it wasn’t as goopy and I was able to eat (really drink) it. So maybe trying that route might help. For now I just mix them in everything else.

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Savory over Sweet April 17, 2013

I’m in the straight up “chia shot” club. I figure those little suckers can gel up in my tummy. Should still get the benefits…..right?

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Anna-Mara March 23, 2013

I found that if I drank it through a straw I could swallow it better than having it fill up my whole mouth. I liked it better with a bit more lemon juice added.

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janet @ the taste space March 1, 2013

Gorgeous, Ange. I love its simplicity. :)

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Olya March 1, 2013

That is just what I’ve been looking for! I’ve been adding chia to my occasional smoothies but was perplexed as to how to include it in my daily life. Thanks!

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Ashley March 1, 2013

I cannot wait to make this and freak out my co-workers! I bet it would be so good with coconut water.

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Ashley March 1, 2013

Also, is that picture on top a glass bottle?? Where can I get one of those?

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Angela March 1, 2013

I think it’s from Crate and Barrel…got it on a sale rack if I remember correctly. Not sure if they still stock them or not.

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Katy @katyskitchen March 1, 2013

I like this, nice and refreshing for those warmer temperatures we’ve been getting. I’m wondering, is it thick like a smoothie? Or more like drinking water or juice?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 1, 2013

It has more of a water texture (of course with gel-y seeds) :)

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl March 1, 2013

I have consistently heard such great things about chia seeds and their health benefits. Thanks for providing an idea of how to incorporate these into one’s diet!

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Nancy March 1, 2013

I can see why you may get the weird looks – it’s soooo … “cool” looking. I kind of want to steal my co-workers chia seeds and try it out right now.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 1, 2013

I love chia. I love chia puddings. But the drinks… I try. They are hard to drink because I don’t know whether to chew or swallow. LOL!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar March 1, 2013

Neat! This sounds like a fabulous idea.

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Andrea @ Vegvacious March 1, 2013

I’ve tried it many times, I really, REALLY want to like it, but I just can’t do it! The texture gets me everytime :)

I can just imagine the looks you get at the gym LOL but little do they know how much healthy goodness you are treating your body to!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 1, 2013

Well you can’t blame a girl for trying ;) It’s definitely not for everyone! hah

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Terra March 1, 2013

I love your blog. I do not love the look of that drink. I don’t think I could do it! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 1, 2013

I double dare you. hah…sorry couldn’t resist.

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} March 1, 2013

Suuuuch beautiful photos. Love!

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 1, 2013

I LOVE chia!! This is something I must try as soon as I return home from all of this traveling :)

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Erin @ The Grass Skirt March 1, 2013

I’ve been the girl with chia seeds stuck in her teeth far too many times, but I’m trying this nonetheless. :)

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Shannon March 1, 2013

Have you heard/ read the book Born to Run? They describe the drink that ancient indians from Mexico used to make for their runners (great book. kind of evolution of distance running) that would revitalize them and keep them going for many more miles once they were exhausted. Years later people realized that they were basically feeding them this drink. I don’t remember the details, but it was essentially a chia seed drink that they relied on to run hundreds of miles. Also, good on you for being a Canadian vegan chef and discovering the secrets of the Tarahumara tribe :)

cool fun fact for the day

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Shundara@ SavyNaturalista March 1, 2013

I just love, love, love this!!! It reminds me of a healthier version of boboa!!!!

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scissors and spice March 1, 2013

I love chia seeds, but have never had them in just water before. I will have to try it!

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Ali March 1, 2013

Oh, the texture! I don’t think I could do it! I LOVE this idea but I am a texture issue person. Do you think soaking and then throwing them into the Vitamix to reduce the…bumpiness…might help? I’m chronically dehydrated due to a medication I have to take and I’m always looking for something to help! I do chias in my granola and oatmeal…love them and I have a ton!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 1, 2013

Hey Ali, you could certainly try blending up the seeds! I’m not sure how gel-y this would make the drink, but it’s always worth a try. And of course, add them into smoothies too. I also know some people who literally take a spoonful of the seeds (dry) followed by a bunch of water (for those with texture issues)

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Toni April 4, 2013

You can use a coffee grinder to grind them up dry. It’s a method of using them as an egg replacement and works like a charm. I think in a large beverage they would be less “gooey” if that’s what you’re looking for too! :)

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Holly G March 1, 2013

This is great! I have a whole jar of Salba that I need to use up, which is supposed to be similar to chia. Could I use that instead do you think?

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Sara March 1, 2013

I usually put it in smoothies and oatmeal. I will be trying this next. I am not a fan of lemon or lime,but I am going to try it!

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Sarah March 1, 2013

I am so glad you posted this! A few months ago I saw someone drinking this and I have been wondering what it was ever since, it was driving me crazy! Now I finally know, and am kind of upset I never asked her, because this sounds amazing.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2013

Hope you enjoy it Sarah!

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Audrey March 1, 2013

Gorgeous photography!

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Sonia the Mexigarian March 1, 2013

I drink this every so often. Nice change of pace from regular ol water :) Though it never looked as good as your photos. My chias either clump at the top or at the bottom. lol.

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Fit Missy March 1, 2013

This really caught my eye!
Thanks for sharing.

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rae March 1, 2013

oh i have got to try this! i buy those mama chia drinks all the time and i LOVE them. But they are so sweet.

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Diane March 1, 2013

I’m sipping on this right now and its so good! Love lime anything so this is win win!

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Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} March 1, 2013

Great idea to make this drink at home, never even crossed my mind. I get the Mama Chia drinks at Wegmans and they are delicious. The description is perfect; water with gel-y seeds is exactly what it is!

The photos are gorgeous by the way :)

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Dana March 1, 2013

Love this!! I will be trying it for sure. Can you also tell me where you got your bottle from?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2013

I think it’s from Crate and Barrel (on a sale rack), but not 100% sure.

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Sonal March 1, 2013

This looks so intriguing!!! :) I love chia seeds so will definitely be drinking them soon !

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Judy Anderson April 8, 2013

My favorite way to have Chia seeds is to put a good tablespoon full in a large glass of unsweetened Almond Milk, stir, let sit in the fridge for 15 minutes, stir it again and enjoy. Voila!!

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